Living in Lagos can be pretty hectic, but it’s worse when you have a difficult commute. The solution is usually to move closer to work. If you’re ready to make the leap to renting your first apartment in Lagos, here are some things you should consider:
Are you ready for the expenses?
Of course, you want to move into your own apartment. You’ll be more comfortable and less stressed. There’s a caveat though – it’ll cost you. First of all, rent in Lagos doesn’t come cheap – you’ll have to pay a year’s rent in advance.
Besides paying your rent, owning your own apartment in Lagos means you’ll need to get used to a steady stream of cash leaving your pocket. There’s usually something that’s broken and needs fixing.
Financial experts will usually recommend that you should not spend more than 30% of your monthly income on rent. If you’ve done the math and it looks like you can’t afford to rent a place yet, maybe you should consider getting a flatmate to save on costs.
Prepare to pay all the upfront costs
Your first rent at any location will usually have several fees added to it, so you’ll probably be paying your agent’s commission, caution fee, agreement fee, maintenance fees, and some more outlandish fees. Get ready to pay all of this with a year’s rent upfront.
Good location and good environment
Make sure you choose an apartment that’s in the right location and not too far from work. Observe the traffic situation around rush hour before making your decision.
You should also take note of what the neighbourhood looks like. How difficult is it to get to the bus stop from your apartment? Does the neighbourhood look safe for when you’ll have to work late nights? How’s the road and drainage? Will you have to wear wellington boots and hire a canoe when it rains?
This is so important, as you very well know. The power situation in Nigeria is not best, but some places have a better power supply than others. Do your research and find out what the power supply in the neighbourhood looks like, and if it’s something you can deal with.
Additionally, find out if the previous occupant had a backlog of electricity bills you’ll be expected to pay for. Actually, find out if the previous occupant left any bills you’ll be expected to foot. This happens a lot more often than it should.
Make sure you get proof of payment
After making the payment for your apartment, ensure you get a receipt from the landlord and collect the keys to the apartment immediately. Make sure you pay directly to the landlord to avoid being a victim of apartment scams.
Ensure it’s in good condition with necessary amenities
If you’re renting your first apartment in Lagos, be warned! Agents can usually spot newbies and will try to foist apartments in bad shape off them, so inspect the apartment and compound as thoroughly as you can.
Most buildings in Lagos provide their own water, so check if there’s a borehole (with potable water) and a functioning pumping machine. Is parking space provided? Look out for faulty wiring, leaky roofs, mouldy walls, bad plumbing, etc.
If there’s any fault you can’t live with, make sure your landlord fixes it before you make pay the rent.
You should get a sense of how well your network provider works in the new apartment, and find out what the arrangement for taking out the trash is – some tenants actually have to dispose of their garbage individually.
Take your time before making this big decision, and remember that the most important thing to know when renting your first apartment in Lagos is to keep your wits about you.
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